Cynthia Schwertsik: My Name
Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery: Vivian Crisp Gallery Friday 13 May – Sunday 26 June 2022
My Name is an iterative project by Adelaide-based artist Cynthia Schwertsik that responds to and reflects the presence and representation of women across public spaces in regional South Australia.
Schwertsik is interested in highlighting where women sit in the forming and sustaining of communities. Whilst their contribution is vast, the visibility of women within the public realm is often concealed, noting that cities and towns world-over are predominately named by and after celebrated men.
Commonly women are represented by their first names, which when used in the public realm – on shopfronts and as business names – offer a way of ‘softening’ spaces. Schwertsik draws attention to this practice and extrapolates to speculate about the lives of the women those names belonged to (real and imagined). Alongside these speculative narratives, she connects with community members to uncover real stories of prominent and special women: both current and historical.
This regional South Australian outcome will see presentations in Port Pirie (Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, May – June 2022) and Murray Bridge (Murray Bridge Regional Gallery, July – September 2022), and draw upon storytelling, photography, video work and mural-making to tell a fuller story about the presence of women in each of these places.
At the centre of each presentation is a site-specific mural painted directly onto the gallery walls. The resulting artwork comprises many women’s names written in classic signage fonts, which are layered, abstracted, and merged into one bright design which illuminates and celebrates the vibrant contributions of women in each location.
My Name not only asks us to reflect on our first name and how it has shaped us, but to consider our collective storytelling, how we capture the history and who it’s told by.
Cynthia Schwertsik will be live painting in the gallery from Friday 13 – Monday 16 May, 2022 during usual opening hours.
Presented by Country Arts SA